As summer approaches – and depending on where you’ve been living this spring, it can’t come fast enough – if you love yoga, we urge you to take advantage of the warmer temperatures that are coming and take your yoga mat to perform your moves in spots you may never have considered before.
Try a sandy beach.
The sound of the waves and the gulls combined is very peaceful. If there’s a breeze, it can cool you. The soft sand under your mat and feet helps ground yet support you. The feel of the sun on your skin reminds you why you perform sun salutations religiously.
Take your mat to a park – or to the lawn in your backyard.
Feel the grass between your toes and under your mat. Listen to the birds in the trees and the breeze waffle through the leaves. Rest afterwards, lie on your mat on your back and see how many different objects, people and animals you can make out in the cloud formations. If you meditate, before or after, take a close look at the grass and watch the small bugs crawl by.
Try Yoga on a paddle board.
If you are more adventurous and have a paddle board, take it to a lake or the ocean on a calm day, put out to the lake/sea, crawl atop the board and see how many poses you can do. Enjoy the extra fun of splashing into the cool water when you tumble.
If you don’t mind being a tad uncomfortable, take the mat to a park or space where large boulders stand. Place the mat in a large and quiet nook among the boulders, if possible, or at their feet, if not. As you go through your poses, feel the pebbles beneath your feet and toes. Take some time to press your hands into the boulders themselves. Listen for wind or breeze whistling through the boulders’ passes. See if you can hear birds fly or lizards scuttle by. Stay quiet before or after and see if you can feel the boulder’s spirit. (Native American spiritual practices are of the belief that all spirits live in all objects, living or inanimate, including rocks.)
Your goal should be to establish a personal yoga practice that you can do at anytime, anywhere, even if you have no teacher to guide you. In fact here are some fun photos of Adi Carter and Luz Raquel doing Arco Yoga over a pond to inspire you. If you feel not yet ready to practice yoga without guidance, stream a yoga video on a tablet or smartphone anywhere you have a signal.
Proven Benefits of Practicing Yoga Outdoors
No matter where you decide to practice outdoors, we encourage you to do so because being outdoors as you practice your moves – or being outdoors doing anything – is proven to be highly beneficial for you emotionally, spiritually and even physically.
Dr. Matthew Baral, a WHAT, has spoken on how nature connects us to our “primeval world.” “Nature connects us to our roots,” he has said. “The grass, the ocean, the trees…. It is where we feel most at home.”
Amos Clifford, the director of the Association of Nature & Forest Therapy, say that spending time outside delivers signals to our brain letting it know it’s back in a home environment. The brain then attunes itself to stay alert. What’s more, spend a good amount of time in a forest and you’ll soon feel energy, and standing and posing on uneven ground strengthens your core.
Being outdoors also makes all of your senses more acute. You hear things more clearly, you see things you normally would miss, you smell things that weren’t there when you first arrived. Eat or drink something, and it will taste better than if you had eaten it at home.
In addition, a University of Southern California study found that just seeing the green of nature increases your endorphins.
If you meditate as you pose, doing so outdoors can boost its benefits: people who are in a forest environment rather than a city showed a lower concentration of cortisol, a stress hormone.
Naturally, whether you practice yoga indoors or out, we hope you’ll do so in our organic cotton yoga clothing. Our clothing is beautiful, comfortable, and made from organic cotton so it’s softer than clothing made of “regular” cotton, and helps support a clean environment. Shop our organic yoga clothing for all the best looks to match your style.